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Statesboro puts sting on Yellow Jackets

Statesboro puts sting on Yellow Jackets

Statesboro puts sting on Yellow Jackets




    The Statesboro High baseball team is picking up momentum at just the right time as the regular season begins to wind down.
    The Blue Devils lost their first two contests against Wayne County this season, but were in command throughout the night Tuesday as they notched a 6-3 victory at Mill Creek Regional Park.
    With the Region 3-AAAA tournament looming ahead and the Yellow Jackets (12-5, 6-2 Region 3-AAAA) expected to be one of the favorites, getting the win was important for Statesboro (11-7, 4-4) to boost its confidence.
    “That was a big, big win for us,” SHS coach Jim Simmons said. “To beat a good team like Wayne County gives us a lot of confidence. We came out and played a well-rounded game for all seven innings. The important thing is to keep it up. This game showed the kind of team we can be.”
    Looking to keep his pitchers fresh for the stretch run, Simmons employed four pitchers on the night who combined to allow just four hits and one earned run.
    Will Stuart breezed through the first two innings allowing just two hits and the 4-0 lead that the Devils took in that span gave Stuart the win.
    Quentin Watson pitched a hitless third inning, but a walk, two wild pitches and an RBI groundout by Sid Royal allowed a Yellow Jacket runner to score.
    Tyler Brown allowed just one base runner in working through the fourth and fifth innings and Jordan Finch fanned three batters over the final two frames to slam the door on Wayne County.
    “I thought that it was a great effort from all of our pitchers,” Simmons said. “We knew going in that everyone was going to get an inning or two of work. Everyone threw strikes and got ahead in counts. We made some good pitches and played some good defense.”
    After scoring just one run in its first two games against Wayne County, the Statesboro offense needed just one inning to top that mark.
    Yellow Jacket ace Clayton Coatney couldn’t find the zone early on as an error and two walks loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning. A walk to Ben Saunders plated Jackson Ware and Finch drove in Colin Chance with a sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 lead after one inning.
    The Devils added to their lead in the second.
    Jacob Schofill led off with a double to right, then scored when Ware laid down a sacrifice bunt and the throw to first sailed high. Finch recorded his second RBI of the night with a single that brought Ware in to score.
    Wayne was aided by the only slip-up of the night for Statesboro in the sixth inning and nearly pulled even.
    A throwing error by Chance extended the frame for the Jackets and Sam Denty brought Wayne within 4-3 when he laced a two-out, two-run single to center.
    Statesboro bounced right back, adding two insurance runs in the bottom half of the inning. Schofill once again started the rally and Ware reached on another bunt to put runners at first and third. A double steal brought Schofill home and Ware eventually scored on a wild pitch.
    “We did a great job of communicating and executing,” Simmons said. “Our last game against Liberty County, we won, but we really didn’t perform like we wanted to. We fixed a lot of that tonight and it led to a win against a very good team.”
    The Devils will try to avoid another season sweep Friday as they hit the road to take on South Effingham.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.

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